The heat goes off as team heads to world champs
Even in temperatures of more than 40 degrees, New Zealand’s under-19 American football side is Oceania’s best.
The team beat Australia 12-7 in sweltering Canberra heat last month, to qualify for the Junior World Championships in Canton, Ohio, in June.
They’ll take on Sweden, Japan, Canada and the United States at the tournament.
But before qualification for the world champs, the players knew they’d have to prepare for the intense heat of an Australian summer.
“We had a lot of training with our pads and helmets on,” running back Matt Gandy says.
“And we were training in the hottest part of the day instead of the evening.”
The 17-year-old Kingsland resident also plays centre for the St Peters College first 15 rugby side, but says American football might have to take precedence for the next few months.
Hard hitting: New Zealand under-19 American football reps Jared Wynne, left, and Matt Gandy are part of the squad that qualified for the world champs in Ohio after defeating Australia last month.